What is spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis is a pathology that affects the vertebrae of the spine producing an outward displacement. In children it commonly occurs between the fifth bone in the lumbar region and the first bone of the pelvis. For its diagnosis, the physician should examine and palpate the spine, in addition to lifting the patient’s straight leg, which with this pathology can be uncomfortable or painful.
Symptoms of spondylolisthesis
Depending on the severity, spondylolisthesis may be asymptomatic. The main visible symptom is an increase in lordosis, which is the inward curvature of the lumbar spine. In the later stages there may be kyphosis, which is the rounded back shape due to the upper spine being displaced on top of the lower spine. Other symptoms of spondylolisthesis may include:
- Pain and numbness in buttocks and thighs
- Low back pain
- Muscle pain and tension
- Tenderness in the legs and in the vertebra area.
Spondylolisthesis is a pathology that affects the vertebrae of the spine, producing an outward displacement of the vertebrae.
producing an outward displacement
Causes of spondylolisthesis
It can be a congenital malformation or a sudden injury due to acute trauma. Other causes that can develop spondylolisthesis are osteoporosis and fractures as a consequence of certain sports activities such as gymnastics or weight lifting, where great tension is concentrated on the bones of the lumbar region. In adults, the most common cause is wear and tear of the cartilage due to arthritis.
Can it be prevented?
It is not possible to prevent the appearance of this pathology, that is why it is important to diagnose it early in order to treat it and slow down its progression.
What is its treatment?
The treatment of spondylolisthesis will depend on the severity of the displacement of the vertebra. In most cases, exercises are performed to strengthen the muscles of the lumbar area. The specialist will monitor the progression of the disease by means of X-rays. He may prescribe the following treatments depending on the severity to prevent the spondylolisthesis from worsening:
- Use of a brace to straighten the spine.
- Pharmacological treatment for pain.
- Physical therapy.
- Surgery to combine the vertebrae.